Dinesh D'Souza, who has come in for almost as much flogging here at Jihad Watch as he gives his books at his blog, is a very happy man these days. Flogging his latest book, he's in full Von Hugel mode, debating atheists left and right, and noting their grateful admiration for his efforts at his blog. In "God and Man at Harvard" from May 7, he marvels at his own prowess, so formidable that leaves his opponents muttering his praises:
I'm not sure why atheists praise me so much. [...]
Then Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, complimented me on the occasion of our first New York debate, saying I was a formidable debate opponent on any topic. [...]
The latest addition to my atheist fan club is Dan Barker, head of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. [...] Recently I debated Barker at Harvard University, after which Barker wrote me to say that of the hundreds of opponents he has faced over the years, "you are clearly one of the best debaters I have encountered." [...]
So the best these atheists can do is to call me arrogant. But even the atheists I debate seem to think that this arrogance is justified. In reality, as people like Shermer and Hitchens who know me will testify, I'm not arrogant. [...]
Is there any doubt why Sam Harris seems to have changed his mind about debating me, and why Richard Dawkins is still hiding under his desk? How come these "brights" seem to have fled into the cover of darkness? Do any of the atheist organizations offer an annual Wimp award?
Arrogant? Not on your life! But satisfied? Certainly. Yet before Dinesh leaves this old world with a satisfied mind, I'd like to issue him another challenge to debate.
Now, to be sure, Dinesh and I have debated before, at CPAC in 2007, and on several radio shows, on whether Islam was a religion of peace and related topics. But none of these have been the extended-format, well-organized events he has been putting on around the country with the atheists. The radio shows were generally local affairs, and the CPAC debate was maddeningly brief and marred by a moderator, Suhail Khan, who was so openly biased and hostile to me as to make the debate practically two against one.
Now, I am quite happy with how the CPAC debate and all of our encounters turned out -- and I do not share the atheists' awe at Dinesh's skills as a debater. But I do think it would be illuminating and enlightening to a great many people if he and I mixed it up one more time, this time in a more formal debate setting that allows us both the time to explain our positions, and examine each other's, at length and in depth.
What do you say, Hoss? Let's go!